Sharing shell with ytalk on Ubuntu

A good friend of mine years ago used to use a command-line app called ytalk to show me around the bash shell (thanks Sione!). After a short while I stopped needing his help and so I stopped using ytalk. At work we really wanted to shell-share with remote team members who were unable to use the iChat screenshare because of OS and bandwidth limitations.

I remembered that ytalk was such a good tool for being able to see what someone else was doing in the shell and to show off your bash skills. I thought it was going to be easy to setup on Ubuntu, but as it turns out, although its still an available package, it is dead on install.

So…. here is what I ended up doing and I hope that if you do the same you will be ytalk’in in no time..

On ubuntu install ytalk:


sudo apt-get install ytalk

Change the default/broken inetd.comf configuration:


talk            dgram   udp    wait    nobody.tty    /usr/sbin/in.talkd      in.talkd
ntalk           dgram   udp    wait    nobody.tty    /usr/sbin/in.ntalkd     in.ntalkd

to:


talk            dgram   udp4    wait    root    /usr/sbin/in.talkd      in.talkd
ntalk           dgram   udp4    wait    root    /usr/sbin/in.ntalkd     in.ntalkd

Note the “4” after the udp and the “nobody.tty” change to “root”

In the /etc/services file, make sure the following lines are in there:


paul@box:~$ sudo grep talk /etc/services
talk            517/udp
ntalk           518/udp

I didn’t have to change anything, but its a good idea to confirm things.

Using YTalk

Initiating the chat:

You can do this in a couple of ways, the first and most obvious way is to coordinate with another person/user and ensure that the two of you are only logged in once to the same box ad then type.


paul@box:~$ ytalk fred

Or if your logged on more than once you can specify the tty in the request after finding out which one it is:


paul@box:~$ who
fred      pts/0        2009-11-06 10:50 (208.X.X.X)
fred      pts/2        2009-11-06 10:48 (208.X.X.X)
paul      pts/3        2009-11-06 14:02 (208.X.X.X)


ytalk fred#2

More on that can be found here: http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/intrepid/man1/ytalk.1.html

Thanks to euphemus for the breakthroughs!

Hope you find ytalk as useful and coolific as I do.

Enjoy!

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